Thursday, March 24, 2005

Apple Wireless?

BusinessWeek is runnning an article summing up why the iPod Phone from Motorola has taken so long to come to market. No surprise here, the big wireless carriers like Verizon and Cingular want to hold you captive to their: digital music (ringtones) store, the phones they approve of, and a contract for the phone subsidies they offer. Aren't the big wireless companies already closed systems? The article hints one way around the iPod phone problem is Motorla/Apple selling them to consumers direct through retail, for around $500 (cna you say $499). If the article hints at this, I guess it's possible, but the common thinking is that you have to use a "Verizon approved" phone for their network, it's not like POTS or a TV you can just connect. Or is it if you are willing to pay? Sometime to research... But I have a different suggestion for Apple. Buy T-Mobile and turn it into Apple Wireless. If the big wireless players are going to view you as a competitor to be rejected, then take the fight straight to them. The business model is one you have used and pioneered, especially the end-to-end solution that is iTunes/iPod. I think there is tremendous pent-up demand for a wireless provider that serves customers some of the time, not fleecing them at every turn. I have used all the big (except Verizon) and some small wireless providers, and they all do the same thing. Buy a ringtone, $2-3 for 90 days. Sorry thats a rental, and its ridiculously overpriced. You can't buy a game, again, you rent, for a limited amount of time. Wouldn't matter if it were cheap, but its crazy. My latest carrier was Sprint. Want to send a picture, that will be an Internet access and airtime fee. Want to send some text, that will be another fee. Want to maintain a contact list on anthing other than the phone, good luck with that. Apple solve all these problems, and I think make a killing. First, phone has to sync with the Mac just like the iPod does right now. PC sync needs an upgrade, primarily that means some address book sync. You can use any sony you own or rent as ringtones or ringback tones. You buy time on the network, doesn't matter how you use it, phone, text, email, sending photos. The devices themselves are key. I'll brainstorm on something latter.